At almost 15 minutes, The Call – a new work for the charity Switchboard LGBT+ – is not to your typical advert. It's a carefully balanced short that shows the breadth of support the charity offers, while tenderly touching upon the experiences faced by many young queer people today. Jordan Rossi is the director and writer behind the work – a filmmaker and creative who has previously shot the likes of Fontaines D.C., Joy Crookes and Munroe Bergdorf, the latter on a cover shoot celebrating Cosmopolitan’s 50-year anniversary. The Call, a collaboration between Rankin Creative and the second-oldest LGBTQIA+ helpline in the UK, marks the launch of Switchboard’s new 0800 number, by charting the potential impact it might have.
The film follows Amir, played masterfully by Adam Ali, a prospective university student struggling with their sexuality, who calls Switchboard for advice and connection at three crucial moments. With each phone call, we see Amir take steps on their own personal journey towards self-acceptance. It shows some of the vital work helpline volunteers undertake daily, but also “explores contemporary themes surrounding LGBTQ+ culture unravelling truths about the community from a wide range of topics”, a release explains.
“This short was about more than telling people there’s a free phone number. I believe in the power of entertainment as a driving force behind changing people’s perceptions and tackling societal issues outside of standard advertising," says Jordan Rossi. "This is about contextualising issues that face the LGBTQ+ community in a way that everyone can understand.”
In Switchboard’s 49-year history, the charity has had over four million calls, offering guidance and support on subjects ranging from sexuality, gender identity, isolation, mental health, sex to relationships. In 2020 and 2021, the service received increased calls from people discussing gender identity. “It would be difficult to pinpoint what exactly caused this tangible rise in numbers since 2019,” says the charity. “However, topics such as the review of the Gender Recognition Act led to increased media hostility towards trans and non-binary people.” All of Switchboard’s volunteers identify as LGBTQIA+ and are available from 10 AM-10 PM all year round at 0800 0119 100, and via text at switchboard.lgbt.
Kate Bull: The Call, written and directed by Jordan Rossi (Copyright © Switchboard LGBT+ / Jordan Rossi for Rankin Creative, 2023)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.